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Upper School Curriculum

  • Science
Biodiversity: Local and Global Contexts
Grades: 10, 11, 12

Did you know that lawns are the most extensively cultivated crop in the United States? They are ecological dead zones, producing no food for human consumption and very little for other organisms. But students can be part of efforts to shift our landscapes toward a more sustainable model for humans and wildlife! In this course, students learn about landscapes that Europeans first encountered in North America. Students explore how domesticated animals, introduced plant species, and the loss of indigenous knowledge caused the degradation of natural ecosystems in the United States and around the globe. On field trips and in the classroom, students learn from experts about creative restoration and conservation efforts, and the importance of these intact ecosystems for human health and climate change mitigation. Through research, students identify native plants and the diversity of local wildlife they support. Throughout the course, students will engage with outside organizations’ efforts that are restoring ecosystems and educating the public about biodiversity. One of the most pivotal projects involves the class developing and implementing a plan for a small parcel of land on the Upper School campus to be converted to native plant and wildlife habitat. These actions will support wider sustainability initiatives to increase wildlife habitat across our campus and the wider Durham community. 

  • Grade 10
  • Grade 11
  • Grade 12